ATSSA has launched a nationwide effort to discourage states and Congress from suspending the collection of taxes on gasoline noting the surge in roadway fatalities over the past two years.
Some in Congress and some in state governments across the country have proposed temporarily cutting gas taxes as a way to help consumers amid inflation and sudden hikes in gas prices. However, the temporary measure would not necessarily benefit consumers but would deter improvements to roadway infrastructure at a time when such projects had just received approval for significant funding, ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner noted.
The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) became law in November and includes nearly $23 billion for roadway safety, funding necessary to help move the nation Toward Zero Deaths on its highways.
Federal and state taxes on gasoline and diesel are important sources of revenue for funding roadway safety improvements.
Some members of Congress have proposed eliminating the federal gas tax—a user fee—through the end of this year. In a similar move, leaders in several states are proposing to halt collection of the state gas tax for varying lengths of time. Two states—Maryland and Georgia—approved temporary gas tax cuts on March 18 and a third, Connecticut, passed its cut on Thursday. Maryland’s runs through April 16, Georgia’s through May 31 and Connecticut’s runs from April 1 through June 30. Fourteen other states have been considering a cut.
The following states are among those that have discussed suspending the gas tax:
ATSSA is encouraging everyone to use this tool to reach out to their legislators and urge them to reject proposals to cut the gas tax. It has begun a social media campaign with the slogan: “Cutting the gas tax is a cost we can’t afford.”
Below are points made in that campaign, which is posted online and has a downloadable version.
Fatalities on our roads have increased. According to estimates from the National Safety Council, the first half of 2021 saw a 16% increase in traffic fatalities over the previous year.
Producers are likely to enjoy savings from suspended gas taxes. However, the government cannot ensure those savings are passed on to consumers.
State gas taxes fund important safety projects. Short-term political wins lead to long-term complicated problems. A state-by-state breakdown is available from the U.S. Energy Administration.
The suspension of state gas taxes is estimated to cost about $100 million per month per state, according to a recent CNET news report. States and localities collected $52 billion in gas taxes in 2019 and most of that is earmarked for transportation projects.
Gas taxes are the primary funding source for roadway safety projects. While the price of gas has risen recently, the federal gas tax has remained the same since 1993. And while some states have made small increases in their gas taxes, the gas tax continues to lose value due to lack of indexing for inflation in more than half of the states, according to Urban Institute data.
ATSSA urges its members to contact their state legislators and voice their opposition to suspending or repealing state gas taxes and provides this easy tool to take action.